There are few unwavering facts in this life: Trump is the worst, crunchy is the only type of worthy peanut butter, and Rotorua smells like a fart.

But you know what? That rotten-egg stench (which is the outcome of hydrogen sulphide emissions, mind you) is so very worth it. The place is beautiful. You’ll forget it’s even there in next to no time. There’s a reason this New Zealand destination, around a six-hour drive North of Wellington and three hours south of Auckland, is such a tourism hotspot, after all.

In fact, there’s far more than one reason – but keep reading to see at least six because I don’t have all day.


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Rotorua is famed for its geothermal activity – it’s actually the reason it smells like 700 filthy uncles got together and simultaneously let it rip – so it makes sense that there is a smorgasbord of hot springs heated naturally from the earth’s mantle. Hells Gate is the obvious option for many because it’s also got a mud pool which is 10/10 fun but Polynesian Spa definitely deserves your consideration.

Not only is it conveniently located in town (Hells is a good 20 min drive from the centre, at least), but I personally found it more relaxing and serene. The choice is yours – whatever floats your oats. You could always have both like a pack of soft tortillas and hard tacos?


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Rotorua Canopy Tours is so well done, kind of like a middle-aged man’s steak order. You know what’s not middle-aged, though? The tour guides. They’re young and hip, unlike me, apparently, who uses the terminology of a 70-year-old when talking about people born in the 90s.

The half-day tour lets you hang loose through New Zealand’s ancient forest, which the company has poured their hearts and souls into preserving – in fact, a portion of every ticket amount goes towards exactly that. Pretty neat.

I did the Original Canopy Tour which was great, don’t get me wrong, but I wish I did the Ultimate Canopy Tour to push me out of my comfort zone that little bit more. If zip-lining is a bit much for you altogether, try Redwoods Treewalk instead. You get all the greenery but at your own pace, but more on that below.


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Like I said earlier, Rotorua is famed for its geothermal activity – it’d be silly as sin to not see that in action. I went to both Te Puia and Wai-O-Tapu and I’ve got to say, if it’s natural wonders you’re going for, the latter slaps.

From the multicoloured Champagne Pool to the volcanic craters and mud that looks like it’s farting, there’s a lot going on. Afterward? Hit up the Waiotapu Tavern. Seriously basic meals for seriously good prices. You know you’re in a good place when they serve 2L Coke by the bottle.

That being said, Te Puia is better if you’re deadset on a geyser erupting. The morning Lady Knox Geyser at Wai-O-Taupo creates quite the shitfight getting there and back alone as it’s slightly offsite. It also feels a touch staged in comparison. Te Puia also offers Māori cultural experiences, like traditional carving and weaving, so keep that in mind when making your choice. Again, you can always do both!


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I’m sorry but luging is such a bloody time, even if it seems like child’s play. There are three different tracks you can go down so you can amp up the turns and bumps, and you can also control the speed and therefore can take over those little rodents in your way. (Yes, rodents being children, don’t @ for not being maternal.)

Hot tip: go after 5pm for a cheaper ticket, but don’t wait til it’s actually dark to go down the Advanced Track as they shut this one early.


Look, if it’s good enough for Meghan and Harry (they visited in 2018) it’s good enough for us. Also trees. Also free trees.

There are a bunch of different routes you can do depending on your schedule and how much time you have up your sleeve, or you could always do the Redwoods Treewalk, which is elevated on bridges but it’ll cost ya around $25.

You can also do the nighttime walk, which is kinda like Vivid in the forest. It’s cool but you can definitely get the entire experience for free if you’re looking to spend money elsewhere.


Technically this is not an activity you can only do in Rotorua or NZ in general, but damn it’s fun and – let’s be honest – you probably won’t do it unless on a holiday of some sort.

Just don’t take a Tinder date on something like this, because your limbs will end up in unsavoury positions and your facial expressions will look far from attractive.

While you’re at all of this, don’t forget to embrace the stank of mother nature – she’s beautiful in all of her odorous glory.

Image: Instagram / @rotoruanz